Chris Tusa’s Debut Novel, Dirty Little Angels


Chris Tusa’s Debut Novel, Dirty Little Angels, to be Released from the University of West Alabama Press.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Wednesday, February 4th) - A new novel by Chris Tusa (New Orleans-born writer and Instructor of English at Louisiana State University), is set to be released from the University of West Alabama Press March 1st.

Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses's lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses's twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.

In Tusa’s work, the traditional backwoods Southern Gothicism of Faulkner and O’Connor intersects with a more modernized, more contemporary depiction of the South. In his fiction, Tusa investigates the ways in which the contemporary, celebrity-driven American culture has managed to infiltrate and alter the poverty-stricken South. The result is a landscape populated with make-shift Meth labs, dilapidated apartment complexes, drive-through churches, and strip malls—a place where people finance cheap cosmetic surgeries with high-interest, cash-advance loans, and where teenagers idolize rappers and movie stars.

If I had a dollar for every sentence in Dirty Little Angels that blew my mind, I’d be able to buy a decent Chevy Nova outright. Christopher Tusa is a new and powerful voice in American fiction, and I truly believe that this raw and poetic first novel marks the beginning of a great and glorious career. -Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff

Dirty Little Angels is a powerful novel - fast paced, riveting, and gritty. In this remarkable novel, Chris Tusa renders revelations about urban teens with startling honesty and deep compassion. Tusa is a gifted author and an amazing new talent. –Bev Marshall, author of Right as Rain and Walking through Shadows.

Chris Tusa was born and raised in New Orleans. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Texas Review, Prairie Schooner, The New Delta Review, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, Passages North, Spoon River, New York Quarterly, Louisiana Literature, Tar River, StorySouth, and others. He has studied under a number of notable writers, including Tim Gautreaux, Sidney Wade, and Debora Gregor. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he was able to complete his first book of poetry, Haunted Bones, which was released by Louisiana Literature Press in 2006. Dirty Little Angels is his first novel. Tusa holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. Aside from teaching in the English Department at LSU, he also acts as Managing Editor for Poetry Southeast.

To read samples of Chris Tusa’s work, visit his website:

Chris Tusa
Department of English
Louisiana State University



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